Three students that work at the Atelier Populaire – the printing workshop of the Parisian École des Arts Décoratifs – start a collective of graphic designers called Grapus. The founding members were Pierre Bernard, François Miehe, and Gérard Paris-Clavel.
They were joined by Jean-Paul Bachollet in 1974 and by Joseph Beuys‘ student Alex Jordan in 1976. The group’s work was motivated by solidarity with the protesting workers, a critical stance towards capitalism, the goals of the international peace movement, and the belief that art and design can contribute to social change. The collective rejected commercial advertising and mainly worked for the Communist Party, the union CGT, for social organizations, communes, cultural institutions, and as of 1981 for governmental ministries as well. The group broke with visual habits and created highly innovative and sensual graphic designs using handwriting, blurred photographs, stains and various collage elements. At the beginning of the 1990s, the collective dissolved but the unconventional image language they had created continues to have an effect until today.
“Grapus – A French collective of graphic designers” is part of the double exhibition “2 x 1968” conceived by the Bröhan Museum on the occasion of contemplating the impact of the ’68-movement on design after 50 years.